Bloaters extend lead

Long Melford 0, Great Yarmouth Town 4YARMOUTH strengthened their position at the top of the Ridgeons First Division as challengers FC Clacton and Saffron Walden could only draw with each other.

Long Melford 0, Great Yarmouth Town 4

YARMOUTH strengthened their position at the top of the Ridgeons First Division as challengers FC Clacton and Saffron Walden could only draw with each other.

Without injured leading scorer Stewart Roach, Yarmouth showed they are not a one-man band as far as scoring goes with two goals in each half.

Without Gareth Palmer who couldn't travel, manager Paul Tong gave the central defence role beside Craig Roberts to Martyn Magee, a job he performed so admirably in the second half at Stowmarket. Roach was absent with a damaged knee so Jake Reed and Gavin Norman formed the strike duo.

Both were involved in the opening goal. Reed received a throw from Bernardo Junior and crossed for Norman to comfortably put away his third goal for the Bloaters in only the 13th minute. Craig Roberts doubled the lead after 23 minutes, meeting a Scott Woodcock corner with a powerful header at the back post.

Yarmouth were showing up well on the flanks, with Scott Woodcock raiding fast on the left while Bernardo Junior and Fernando Vide provided some highly entertaining and effective link play on the right.

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Melford were finding it hard to get into the game and when they did Roberts' head met everything they could muster. As well as pace, Woodcock provided great support play up the line, and Norman got on the end of one pass to send a searching ball across the goal-line but there was no-one to take advantage.

Yarmouth were forced into an early change. Reed had already required treatment twice and was replaced after the half-hour by Joe Bell.

Alongside Roberts, Magee was ever watchful and in control and his distribution was a telling factor in Yarmouth's dominance of midfield.

Soon after the interval, Vide should have made it three but he ran the ball just too far ahead of himself and Paul Wood came to collect. Wood, who had done so well in the fixture at Yarmouth, looked a little uncertain on several occasions this time.

Long Melford had Ashley Skeggs sent off for foul language but the 10 men fought all the harder and dominated for a time, though without seriously inconveniencing captain Michael Hilton in goal.

Adam Flack scooped a shot over the Bloaters' bar and Yarmouth withstood the storm, going further ahead on 68 minutes when substitute Vida Formoso, only on the field for three minutes, got his head on an Adam Sewell long throw and directed the ball to the far post. It dropped under the bar despite a defender's desperate attempt to clear. It was the Portuguese national's first senior game since September 8 and his first goal for Yarmouth.

Hilton had one more shot to save low by the post and after 83 minutes Yarmouth substitute Mark Thompson deservedly scored his fourth goal of the season with a tremendous shot across the keeper from Olly Savage's pass. It was reward for another battling performance after coming off the bench.

“It was a tough game,” said Tong. “They were on the back of a couple of away wins on the bounce including at Saffron Walden midweek so were on a high. We were missing a number of players, mostly through injury, and then Jake (Reed) and Martyn (Magee) also picked up knocks in the game.

“But I cannot praise the lads enough. Gavin Norman was always a threat around the box and Craig (Roberts) was magnificent, like a magnet, the ball always seemed to find his head. Captain Michael Hilton secured another clean sheet, and on came the two substitutes Vida Formoso and Mark Thompson to also score.

“But we approached the game in the right frame of mind, and right through the team everyone did well.”

Yarmouth: M Hilton, B Junior, O Savage, C Roberts, M Magee (M Thompson 70), A Sewell, F Vide (V Formoso 65), D Smith, J Reed (J Bell 33), G Norman, S Woodcock. Att: 61.